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You are watching a free tutorial from Lighting 101.
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You are watching a free tutorial from Lighting 101.
To view the entire course, upgrade to Premium or purchase it in the SLR Lounge Store.


In this video, I want to demonstrate the purpose of bouncing light overhead as a means of creating interesting definition and powerful highlights. With just a simple adjustment in position, your flash is modified to produce directional and controlled light.

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Make Sure Your Ceiling is White for Best Results

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Since our light is being bounced off of the ceiling, we want to make sure that there is no color being transferred into our scene. Your best bet to ensure this is to bounce light off of a white ceiling or use a v-flat in order to lessen the amount and spread of light dramatically. Aiming the flash directly at your subject fills in all shadows on the muscles therefore reducing the appearance of tone and definition.

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Direct Flash

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Directional Flash

Use a Snoot/Grid and Flash Zoom To Modify Light Spread

Now that we have our bounce prepared we can focus on the spread of light we desire. By changing the zoom settings on your flash, you are concentrating the light on a specific portion of the ceiling or v-flat without having it spread across. We can also modify and pinpoint our spread of light by using a Snoot or a Grid, the latter being easier to use because generally we are not bouncing far enough to use a Snoot.

Bright Non-Colored Surfaces vs. Reflective Surfaces

Bouncing light against a bright white surface will result in more diffused light being spread. Using a reflective surface, such as a silver reflector, will produce a more specular light. For this shot, the specular light was better because the harsher shadows show more definition in the muscles.

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Assignment entries for this chapter

Lighting 101